Movie helps Hemel woman beat her anxiety

Lydia Hartwell
Lydia Hartwell

A Hemel Hempstead woman with a rare medical condition has been so inspired by recent blockbuster movie The Greatest Showman that she’s seen it 29 times.

Loosely based on the life of circus showman P.T. Barnum, the musical film is a whimsical story about those deemed society’s oddities, including a bearded lady and a dwarf.

Lydia Hartwell, aged 37, suffers from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), which causes her joints to dislocate very easily, as well as painful osteoarthritis in her knees, shoulder and neck.

Getting around town can be a struggle, even with her mobility scooter.

Lydia said: “I do have to get off and try and walk around and I find that very hard. Some days I can’t even walk at all. I was getting more and more anxious every time I went out.”

Lydia even admits to having had suicidal feelings.

But things started to change after she saw The Greatest Showman for the first time on Boxing Day at Hemel’s Cineworld.

She said: “I loved it – the music, the characters. It’s just the way they treat disabled people. They are not scared to go out with all the things they’ve got wrong with them.

“It just proved to me that, yeah, I might be disabled, but they’ve all got something different with them and they’re all human at the end of it and that has helped.”

She added: “I’m not anxious since I’ve seen that movie. It’s helped me so much, I’ve even come off my painkillers.”